For as long as I can remember, dance has been my absolute favorite thing in the entire world. I attended my first dance class at the age of eight. Initially, dance was merely an activity I engaged in twice a week. I would go to class, stretch a little, learn the choreography, and come back home. I never thought much of it, just that it was a fun way to use some free time. Little did I know that as I stepped into the huge hall every Monday and Thursday, I was stepping into a brand new world: the world of tight buns and sore feet, the world of dance.
Over the years, as I reached higher levels, dance got harder. It wasn't as fun as I would have liked it to be, yet I found myself going for practice every week. Why? Because deep down I knew that the pulled muscles and dizzy head were worth the result. I remember the training days clear as a crystal: the strain, the struggle, and the final feeling of satisfaction. Had I given up, I would have never been able to nail those splits and jumps. Pushing myself made me realize my true potential.
At the weekly practice, I was learning more than just chaînés and battements. Dance taught me the power of never giving up. As cliche as it may sound, I learned to step out of my comfort zone and overcome my fears. All this while my perception of the word "failure" took a 180-degree turn. Each day I strive to be a better version of myself. Each day I work harder. Dance transformed the dull eleven-year-old into a confident and perseverant artist.
"Is dance just a hobby?" my teacher asked me one day. I had no answer.
That night, I realized that dance is more than just a hobby. It's an inseparable part of who I am. It's my passion. This is why I would continue to go to class despite the pain. There were times I felt dizzy. I would hear my feet crying for help. My body had had enough. Yet, my mind was not satisfied.
In the ephemeral moment that I get on stage, I feel alive as ever: the blood pumping through my veins, sweat dripping from my body and energy rushing through me. That tiny, yet euphoric moment brings more meaning to my life. It makes me aware of my passion, my emotions, and my power.
It took me a long time to realize that to be called a professional, one doesn't require amazing technique or extraordinary skills, but only the understanding of this form of art. Dance isn't just movement of the body, rather it is an expression of the soul. I use dance to voice my feelings. When I perform I feel my emotions overflowing like wildfire spreading through the hall and engulfing the audience. That is the power of dance.